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Framingham’s Burgess won’t be able to coast to repeat title – Boston Herald

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He’s still on the mend from a nagging ankle injury, but it would be foolish for any harrier to count out Sam Burgess when November rolls around.

The Framingham star held off Needham’s Kyler McNatt to capture the Div. 1 All-State title last fall and he has the mental toughness to get himself where he needs to be come Nov. 19 when the championship meet moves to Fort Devens in Ayer.

Healthy or not, it will take a supreme effort from Burgess to turn away what is sizing up to be a deep Div. 1 field. All-State 2-mile champion Nathan Lopez of St. John’s Prep’s will be ready to race for the title as will Christopher Sullivan of Catholic Memorial, David Manfredi of Weymouth, Waltham’s Brendan Wilder, Ryan Connolly of North Andover, Tyler Tubman of Newton North and Ben Feldman of Natick.

Beyond the top finishers there’s bunch of harriers who will be hungry to get closer to the front. Acton-Boxboro has a solid punch in Will Liu and Caleb Straayer, as does Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron and Jack Graffeo, and Chris Larnard and William Locke of Boston College High. The talent goes even deeper with Billerica’s Ryan Leslie, Logan Tracia of Peabody, Concord-Carlisle’s Harrison Dow, Brookline’s Kailas Ciatto, Ryan Sarney of Oliver Ames, Lowell’s Jack Courtney, John Garvey of Catholic Memorial, Plymouth South’s Dylan Brilliant, Gabe Watson of Winchester, Felix Rogovin of St. John’s Prep, Sharon’s Nathaniel Traut, Bishop Feehan’s Casey Gorhand and Dennis Satchek of Boston Latin.

Aidan Ross of Uxbridge and Marcus Reilly of Northbridge staged an early duel in Div. 3, but it was Ross who put on the pressure and surged to a  sizzling Wrentham Developmental Center course record of 14:47.11. It should be the same two-runner race this year with both harriers back. Other returning top-10 finishers include Timothy Rank of Littleton, Monson’s Andrew Linkenhoker and John Collins of Norfolk Aggie.

There’ll also be a solid group of runners almost guaranteeing jam at the finish line. Look for that group to include Henry Jacobson of Parker Charter, Lenox’s Dennis Love and Maxwell Adam, Andrew Caldera of Bishop Stang, Uxbridge’s Carl Gallawan and Lincoln Schiller, Jack Stahl of Bromfield, Nick Uzzo of East Bridgewater, Sturgis East’s Shane Stanghellini, Carsen Valenta of Weston, Caiden Sears of Seekonk, Carver’s Luke Holdn, Finn O’Hara of Manchester Essex, Weston’s James Osborn, Jackson Hunt of Hopedale, Ben McCarthy of Millis, Hampshire Regional’s Dillon Deveu and Noah Amaral of Seekonk.

Burlington’s Rithikh Prakash is the top Div. 2 returnee after a strong third-place showing last fall. He’s the lone harrier who is back and broke 16-minutes, making him the clear favorite. Teammate Eric Sekyaya could give Burlington a 1-2 finish.

The finish line could be chaos judging by how close the pack is. Look for potential strong performances from Falmouth Academy’s Henry Garner, Wakefield’s Leith Jones, Adam Balewicz of Nashoba, Norwell’s Connor Reidy and Thomas Corbett, Burlington’s Patrick Gray, Kyle Kwiatek of St. Mary’s of Lynn, Ellis Iurilli-Hough of Melrose, Ben Stratton of Wakefield, Amherst-Pelham’s David Pinero-Jacome, Norton’s Andrew McConnell, Bedford’s Jonathan Garraway, Bradford Duchesne of Newburyport, Dover-Sherborn’s Jack Almeda, Tantasqua’s Camden Foley, Bishop Fenwick of Declan Smith, Longmeadow’s Evan Lyons, Norwood’s Dylan Hamway, Longmeadow’s Aidan Cass, Martha’s Vineyard’s Daniel da Silva, Austin Prep’s Donald Bresette, Triton’s Griffin White, Bishop Fenwick’s Wyatt Burr, Carlos Ayala of Springfield Central and Tyler Young of Old Rochester.

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